June 27, 2011
Recent amendments introduced to HB 41 — which adopt changes made at the urging of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus — would strip the proposed TSA Anti-Groping bill of its teeth and render prosecution under the measure extremely difficult. More importantly, the new language concedes the debate on the fundamental constitutional question at stake. Rather than declaring that a state actor cannot touch a person’s private parts without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the amended language requires that a prosecutor prove in every instance that such inappropriate touching does in fact violate the Constitution, or their case will be dismissed. With this in view, TsaTyranny.com believes HB 41, in its present form, will only affirm and embolden TSA officials in their abusive procedures and hinder prosecutors from holding them accountable. Consequently, TsaTyranny.com opposes the present wording of HB 41 and withdraws support of the bill until the compromise language is removed.
1. Contact Rep. David Simpson and urge him to return HB 41 to its clear defense of Texans’ Fourth Amendment rights. Encourage him to insist that the bill identify that pat downs performed without probable cause which involve the touching of private parts are unconstitutional. Call him and urge these changes: (512) 463-0750.
2. Contact Senator Dan Patrick and urge him not to support the current proposed changes in House Bill 41′s language. Ask him to retain SB29’s clear defense of Texans’ Fourth Amendment rights. Encourage him to insist that the bill identify that pat downs performed without probable cause which involve the touching of private parts are unconstitutional. Call him and urge these changes: (512) 463-0107.
“After Lt. Gov. Dewhurst published a press release indicating that he had been working with the Attorney General’s office to address the threats of the Obama Administration, we read other reports which stated that the amendments to the TSA Anti-Groping bill he was advancing would render the legislation ‘wholly irrelevant’ and make its passage a mere symbolic victory — reports which left us very concerned,” noted Michael Gobart, Founder of TsaTyranny.com. “After consulting with multiple attorneys and legal teams who investigated the matter, we concluded that the amendments would indeed gut the bill of its force.”
“The office of TsaTyranny.com, along with the legal team who helped to draft the original wording of HB 41, met with Representative David Simpson, the bill’s author in the House, to oppose recommended changes which would strip the legislation of language clearly identifying the TSA pat-downs/searches as unconstitutional,” continued Gobart. “Our appeals were heard, but not heeded.”
Gobart concluded: “We entered this important battle to secure our Fourth Amendment rights and the sanctity of our bodies, not simply to get a bill passed.”
If HB 41 is passed with the amendments suggested by the Attorney General’s office (amendmentssolicited by Lt. Gov. Dewhurst to make the bill as impervious as possible to a facial constitutional attack), it will no longer be possible to prosecute TSA agents who execute full-body pat downs without probable cause unless such searches are first declared “Constitutionally Unreasonable”.
This article was posted: Monday, June 27, 2011 at 3:48 am